Justice Minister announces changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Date published: 09 June 2020

Justice Minister, Naomi Long MLA today announced the removal of the same household rule contained within the Northern Ireland Criminal injuries Compensation Scheme 2009.

This change in legislation allows access to the Scheme for victims of abuse and violent crime who were previously prevented from applying for criminal injuries compensation because of the longstanding rule.

The same household rule applied from 1 March 1969 to 30 June 1988 to all victims of abuse or a crime of violence inflicted by a family member living under the same roof. The legislation was amended in 1988 but at that time was not made retrospective.

Naomi Long said:The same household rule was unfair and I recognise the impact this had on all victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker

Amending the same household provision will bring the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Scheme into line with the GB Scheme in relation to treatment of victims of same household abuse and allow more victims of crime to access compensation.

The payment can never fully compensate for the injuries suffered, but it is recognition of the pain and suffering of victims who experienced abuse and violence perpetrated by members of their own household.

The removal of the same household rule from the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Scheme also ensures compliance with a ruling made by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland in November 2018   

New and past applicants refused an award under the pre-1988 same household rule will still need to meet all the remaining eligibility criteria within the 2009 Scheme.

The time limit for applications to be received is two years from the passing of this amendment.

Further information on applying for compensation can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/compensation-criminal-injuries

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a Government funded scheme designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crime in Northern Ireland. The payment can never fully compensate for the injuries suffered, but it is recognition of public sympathy for the pain and suffering caused. 
  2. Compensation Services administer the Scheme on behalf of the Department of Justice and determine all claims.
  3. On 23 November 2018 the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland delivered a judgment on a Judicial Review overturning the ‘same household’ rule contained at Paragraph 7 of the NI Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2009.
  4. From today (9 June 2020), the change to the legislation will mean that anyone previously denied compensation under the same household rule, or put off from coming forward because of it, will be able to make a fresh application.
  5. The same household rule applied from 1 March 1969 to 30 June 1988 to all victims of abuse inflicted by a family member living under the same roof; this includes physical as well as sexual abuse.
  6. As the first statutory Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme commenced on 1 March 1969, there is no provision for someone who was a victim before this date to make a claim for compensation.  
  7. The time limit for applications to be received is two years from the date the amendment passed. This time limit may, however, be waived if we consider that there is a good reason for the delay and it is in the interests of justice to do so.  
  8. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email on press.office@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk 
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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